From Rachael: "We eat fish on Christmas Eve, no meat allowed. After Midnight Mass, all bets are off! We make this sauce for Christmas Day: you can't fit another meat in the pot! As many times as you reheat it, it just gets that much better, so if people are coming and going throughout the day, cook off only as much pasta as you need at the time – half a pound for every 3 people. I suggest
* 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
* 4 cloves garlic, crushed
* 1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
* 1/4 pound pancetta, thick-cut, chopped into small bits
* 1/2 pound bulk hot Italian sausage
* 1 pound combined ground beef, pork and veal
* 1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped
* 1 rib celery, chopped
* 1 medium onion, chopped
* 1 cup good quality dry red wine
* 1 cup prepared beef stock, packaged in a box container or canned
* 2 cans chunky style crushed tomatoes (32 ounces each)
* A handful of flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped
* 1/4 teaspoon allspice or cinnamon (a couple of pinches)
* Coarse salt and black pepper
* 2 pounds penne rigate, cooked to al dente
* Grated Pecorino Romano cheese, as an accompaniment
* Fresh, crusty bread, for mopping
Heat a deep pot over medium-high heat. Add oil, garlic, bay leaf and pancetta bits and brown for one minute. Add meats and brown and crumble them for five minutes.
Chop carrot, celery and onions near the stove and add to the pot as you work. Cook vegetables with meat for five minutes and add wine. Cook for one minute; add stock and tomatoes to the pot.
Stir in parsley, allspice or cinnamon and season sauce with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring sauce to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and cook 10-15 minutes minimum before serving. Reheated sauce only improves.
Toss pasta (cook only as much pasta as you need at the time: half a pound for every three people) with a couple of ladles of sauce to coat, then top bowl with extra sauce. Top pasta with lots of cheese and pass bread at the table.
The sauce will cover up to two pounds of pasta.